Imitators

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UploadedFile17The monkey is a great mimic. The hunters of Brazil know what a propensity the monkey has for imitating, and so take advantage of this habit to catch them. They have lots of little boots made about large enough to fit a monkey’s foot, and fill the bottom of each boot, on the inside, with soft pitch. Provided with these they set out into the woods, among the trees where the merry little creatures have their headquarters, and are found leaping and swinging by their tails, and chattering and making observations about everything that is going on. The hunters are wise enough to know that they might as well try to catch a bird by the wing as attempt to lay hands on one of these active animals, so they sit down under the trees, where all the monkeys can see them, and place the boots in a row. The monkeys gather overhead to watch what they are doing; then the hunters pull off their boots and place them beside the little boots. After letting them remain a while they take them up, and having carefully looked at them — while the monkeys in the trees are watching every proceeding — they slowly draw their own boots on their feet, and hurry away into the thickets, where they cannot be seen, leaving the little boots standing in rows under the trees.

As soon as the hunters are out of sight down come the monkeys. They look sharply at the little boots; then they take them up and feel them; then they smell them and eye them over again, until finally they sit down — as the hunters did — and draw them on their feet. As soon as the boots are fairly on, the hunters rush out from their hiding-place. The monkeys take to the trees, but they find they cannot climb They try to pull off the boots, as the men did, but they are stuck fast to their feet. So they fall easy captives to the cunning hunters, who bear them off in triumph.

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